Pastor’s Email Devotion — Pr. Sarah, Guest Devotioneer
The Week of Pentecost 14
“Who do you see?”
My soul has been heavily laden and the question “who do you see?” gets at the heart of the burden. I’ve been seeing a lot of things that make me weary. I was looking at the newspaper and saw the faces of protesters who were crying out a year after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. Their faces and passionate expressions made me wonder the ways I have hurt others, or assumed the worst rather than the best from someone. A few days later I saw my mom’s Facebook page where she shared the news of random violence that occurred at the grocery store down the street from her. A violent, mentally disturbed person ended the life of a stranger for no sensible reason. And the community was in shock of the event. A few days later the forces of chaos and evil once again reared their ugly heads as television anchors with grief and anger told us of graphic violence that occurred in Roanoke. This time I saw a broken person taking down his own colleagues on live tv and glamorizing the violence through first person filming.
Events like these can become so overwhelming that our soul cries out or sometimes simply whimpers in hurt. When that happens we all respond in ways that are unique. In moments like these we may find solace in advocating for better understanding of mental illness, conversations about gun control, or finding refuge in political debates. Others in their grief turn to sanctuaries of fun and games, quizzes online that make you smile or a cute video of a puppy. Perhaps you have your own way of dealing with the brokenness of the world.
As my soul felt heavily laden, I lacked the words to pray eloquently. The night after the Roanoke tragedy, I Iaid down to go to sleep and silently whispered that I was scared, and prayed a very simple prayer. “Help me. Help Them. Amen.”
The next day I had the evening off and my daughter and I wandered up onto the hill outside of our house. It was a warm day, but the humidity had dispersed. The sun was lowering in the sky and cast long golden glows onto our house and the surrounding trees. We wandered back to a pear tree whose fruit was just ripe. I jumped up and grabbed a pear not yet spoiled by bugs and sat down next to my child. I took a bite, and then she took a bite. The wet juices were dribbling down our chins. Soon my daughter indicated that she wanted to sit on my lap so that we could better enjoy our shared pear together. We sat there for 20 minutes. Taking in good creation. Good fruit. Good sunsets. Good family.
This was a gift. God’s gift to me. A prayer answered for help and an answer to the question “Who do you see?” The day before I saw evil and chaos and hurt and brokenness. Today I saw good fruit. I believe that we can be so inundated with the brokenness of our world it is almost too easy to overlook the good fruit.
Who do you see?
Friends, I pray that you may find a peaceful corner of God’s world, that you may savor good fruit, and that you may be surrounded by people who reflect the goodness of God.